Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Megapixel' DNA replication technology promises faster, more precise diagnostics

Date:
July 4, 2011
Source:
University of British Columbia
Summary:
Researchers have developed a DNA measurement platform that sets dramatic new performance standards in the sensitivity and accuracy of sample screening.

Researchers have developed a DNA measurement platform that sets dramatic new performance standards in the sensitivity and accuracy of sample screening. The advance could improve a range of genetic diagnostics and screenings where precise measurement is crucial--including the early detection of cancer, prenatal diagnostics, the detection of pathogens in food products, and the analysis of single cell gene expression.

The new digital polymerase chain reaction (PCR) device uses liquid surface tension, rather than systems of microscopic valves, to partition DNA samples into arrays of 1,000,000 chambers or more. The device enables the direct counting of single molecules isolated in individual chambers.

The density of reaction chambers achieved by the platform exceeds more traditional valve-based digital PCR techniques by a factor of 100, translating directly into improved performance.

"This solves some major technical issues that have limited the scale and accuracy of traditional digital PCR techniques," says Assistant Professor Carl Hansen with the UBC Department of Physics and Astronomy and Centre for High‐Throughput Biology. "It creates defect-free arrays of millions of uniform volume sub-reactions, and controls dehydration of these reactions during thermocycling."

PCR is an indispensable molecular biology technique used by researchers to amplify--or copy--a single piece of DNA millions or billions of times. The technique relies on repeated cycles of heating and cooling of the reaction to replicate segments of DNA using a protein called DNA polymerase, the same enzyme that copies DNA in living cells. PCR is used in medical and biology labs to clone DNA, analyze genes, detect hereditary disease, and in forensics.

The description of the 'megapixel' platform was published July 3 in Nature Methods.

Digital PCR refers to a new generation of DNA replication techniques that offer increased sensitively and density over the original technique, developed in 1983. The greatest number of chambers available in commercially available implementations of digital PCR, using integrated micro-valves, is 36,960. However, further scalability is limited by the maximum density at which valves may be reliably fabricated.

Hansen believes the new version or digital PCR can be scaled to hold up to approximately 10,000,000 chambers on a standard one inch format.

The UBC researchers also found the new 'megapixel' technique set new benchmarks in detecting rare mutations--defined as the lowest measurable ratio of two target sequences differing by a single nucleotide variation as well as new limits in the detection of subtle differences in sequence abundance.

Partitioning of a one million chamber array takes approximately one minute.

"Our solution, or something using the same techniques, could enable a new degree of precision in measurements in biomedical research and diagnostics. The dramatic increase in assay density has important implications for the adoption of digital PCR as an economical, fast and routine analytical tool," says Hansen.

This research was funded by the Canadian Institute for Health Research, the Terry Fox Foundation, and the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of British Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Kevin A Heyries, Carolina Tropini, Michael VanInsberghe, Callum Doolin, Oleh I Petriv, Anupam Singhal, Kaston Leung, Curtis B Hughesman & Carl L Hansen. Megapixel digital PCR. Nature Methods, 03 July 2011 DOI: 10.1038/nmeth.1640

Cite This Page:

University of British Columbia. "'Megapixel' DNA replication technology promises faster, more precise diagnostics." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 July 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110703133842.htm>.
University of British Columbia. (2011, July 4). 'Megapixel' DNA replication technology promises faster, more precise diagnostics. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110703133842.htm
University of British Columbia. "'Megapixel' DNA replication technology promises faster, more precise diagnostics." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110703133842.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Wedged between buses, lorries and cars, cycling in London isn't for the faint hearted. Nevertheless the number of people choosing to bike in the British capital has doubled over the past 15 years. Duration: 02:27 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

AFP (Aug. 30, 2014) Authorities in Liberia try to stem the spread of the Ebola epidemic by raising awareness and setting up sanitation units for people to wash their hands. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins